CHARLOTTE — A passenger appeared in court Wednesday after being charged with shooting a CATS bus driver last week.
The Charlotte Area Transit System said last Thursday a passenger started a verbal argument with the bus driver. Then the passenger pulled out a gun, and the bus driver also pulled out a gun, and they both shot at each other.
In court, more details emerged about what occurred. Attorneys said the passenger attempted to ride the city bus but did not pay. This led to an argument between the bus driver and the passenger.
The passenger then asked the driver to drop him off near a McDonald’s. When the bus driver said he could not do that, the passenger replied, “I’m going to pop you...I dare you to touch me.”
The passenger then showed a gun to the bus driver causing the driver to pull out his own gun. The driver fired first, striking the passenger. The passenger then shot back, according to reports.
The passenger, who was seen on surveillance, ran off after being shot in the stomach.
The passenger has been identified as 22-year-old Omarri Shariff Tobias. He’s facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injuries, communicating threats, and carrying a concealed firearm.
Tobias secured bond was increased from $100,000 to $250,000 and he is banned from riding any CATS buses or light rails.
Tobias is still in custody as of Wednesday.
Channel 9′s Hunter Sáenz spoke with the bus driver’s attorney Ken Harris. Harris said the fact that his client, who has worked for CATS for 19 years, felt the need to bring a gun onto the bus speaks to long-lasting safety concerns.
“Anyone in the workplace, who is consistently confronted with dangerous scenarios in the workplace, could reasonably be expected to find a way to protect themselves so they can get home safely,” Harris said.
In court, the judge said an incident like this has occurred before, referring to the fatal shooting of CATS bus driver Ethan Rivera last year.
The judge also said he was taken aback that the bus driver was in possession of a firearm. He followed up with, “The driver has a right to defend himself.”
The driver of the CATS bus, later identified as David Fuller, is not facing charges at this time.
VIDEO: Security remains an issue on CATS buses after shootout between driver, passenger, attorney says
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